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Remembering Stan Freberg  

He’s the funniest guy you never heard of: Stan Freberg, the sultan of satire, the wizard of one-liners.

In a sketch from Freberg’s History of the United States comedy album, George Washington trods through winter snows to the home of seamstress Betsy Ross, who is making the nation’s first flag.  As Washington tromps inside, Betsy yells out, “Hey, hey—ever hear of wipin’ your feet?  You’re gettin’ snow all over my early American rug!”  Their contentious flag meeting ends with Betsy asking General Washington, “Do you want me to put it on a hangar?”  To which he replies nonchalantly, “No, I’ll just run it up the flag pole and see if anybody salutes.

Stan Freberg did cartoon voice-overs for Warner Brothers and Walt Disney.  He hosted the Emmy-winning early-'50s puppet show, Time for Beany.  Among his fans was Albert Einstein.  The genius once supposedly interrupted a high-level conference announcing, "You will have to excuse me, gentlemen. It is time for Beany."

Freberg was a major force in the advertising world, with clients like Jeno's Pizza, Reynolds Wrap, and Great American Soups.  He spent a record-setting one million dollars on a single commercial back in 1970.  When George Lucas sought advice on the voice for his Star Wars character C-3PO, he turned to Stan Freberg.

Being a Freberg fan—and full of chutzpah— I called him up and spoke with him on the phone.  Twice.  One occasion was just after his first wife, Donna, died in 2000.  Pensive, he shared with me that he was raised the son of a Baptist minister.  Which led me to ask him if he was certain he was going to heaven—and why.

He proceeded to quote John 3:16 from the King James Version: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”

Stan Freberg won many awards, voiced many characters, made many records—and died last week. Now, only one thing about his life really matters: He knew Jesus as His Savior.  Do you?

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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